Sunday, August 08, 2004

God's Plan for Lava Lava Unity

The church we attend announced that this Fall, we will join 2,500 other Christian congregations in simultaneously reading "The Purpose-Driven Life" by Rick Warren, a cautious, smartly-worded Christian book. The congregations will be non-denominational and from all denominations.

CS Lewis said, "The time is always ripe for reunion. Divisions between Christians are a sin and a scandal, and Christians ought at all times to be making contributions towards reunion," in response to a question about denominational divisions within the Christian church. (God in the Dock - 48 Essays on Theology and Ethics , published in 1970 by Lewis' estate. Should be required reading for all Christians.)

The coming-together of 2,500 somewhat disparate Protestant congregations for 40 days is a wonderful first-step toward focusing on the 95% that all Christians have in common, and defusing the 5% that divides us.

I was pleasantly surprised yesterday to realize that this theological coming-together has already occurred for children's Sunday School. For its summer Vacation Bible School, our church used a tropical-themed curriculum package purchased from a Colorado Christian publisher. As I drove about town, I first noticed that the fundamentalist church down the street is using the same Lava Lava materials....then later saw that a Presbyterian church in the next town is also using the tropical VBS package. Once home, I searched the internet, and found Episcopal, Lutheran, Baptist and yes, even Catholic churches using Lava Lava VBS curriculum this summer.

I can't think of a logical reason for this ecumenical trend. My guess is the publisher simply creates the best materials for a reasonable cost.

Or maybe it's more than mere coincidence. In chapter 21 of the Warren book, he says, "It is our job to protect the unity of our church. Unity in the church is so important that the New Testament gives more attention to it than to either heaven or hell. God deeply desires that we experience oneness and harmony with each other."

Hmmm...perhaps part of God's plan?

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